Five Again

This week’s ele­phant stam­pede brings us a new fea­ture: the advent of the NotNotRom­ney.

In the begin­ning, there was for­mer Mass­a­chu­setts Gov­er­nor Willard “Mitt” Rom­ney. Although he seemed to be the heir appar­ent to the Ele­phant King, there was tremen­dous dis­sat­is­fac­tion among Repub­li­can pri­mary voters.

So the NotRom­ney was born. Through­out the fall of 2011 and early 2012, a suc­ces­sion of NotRom­neys appeared. For­mer Alaska Gov­er­nor Sarah Palin, Don­ald Trump, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Michele Bach­mann (R-​​Stillwater, MN), Texas Gov­er­nor Rick Perry, Her­man Cain, for­mer House Speaker Newt Gin­grich, then for­mer Sen­a­tor Rick San­to­rum (R-​​PA) all wore the NotRom­ney crown. Like the last guy in a game of musi­cal chairs, San­to­rum seems to have a lock on the NotRom­ney title.

Still dis­sat­is­fied, Repub­li­can vot­ers (as reflected on Intrade) have shunned Rom­ney and NotRom­ney. Now, the surge of the Not­NotRom­ney. This week’s inau­gural NotNotRom­ney is — drum roll — Bush the Third.

Wait…what?

For­mer Florida Gov­er­nor John Ellis “Jeb” Bush makes his first appear­ance in our weekly run­down of the Repub­li­can field. Remem­ber that we’re using the Intrade bet­tors fig­ur­ing a can­di­date has a one per­cent chance of the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion as our thresh­old. Jeb Bush is ris­ing fast, and as of this writ­ing is at two per­cent. As Bush is not a declared can­di­date, I assume this means Intraders think there’s at least a one in 50 chance of a bro­kered convention.

I’ve listed the poten­tial Repub­li­can can­di­dates below, in order of their Intrade per­cent­ages, from high­est to low­est. In each case, the polling num­bers are given in paren­the­ses after the candidate’s name, rounded to the near­est whole num­ber, fol­lowed by the change from last month:

RCP = the most recent (Feb­ru­ary 8–14) avail­able Real Clear Pol­i­tics national aggre­gated polling data.

In = Intrade Feb­ru­ary 15.

Ari­zona and Michi­gan hold pri­maries on Feb­ru­ary 28. I’ve also included polling data from those states:

ARG-​​AZ = Amer­i­can Research Group poll of Ari­zona vot­ers, released Feb­ru­ary 15.

MRG-​​MI = MRG poll of Michi­gan vot­ers, also released Feb­ru­ary 15.

In the inter­est of space and clar­ity, I’ve dropped the May-​​October monthly stand­ings columns. The horser­ace stand­ings now start in Novem­ber, but you can go to the Jan­u­ary 5 arti­cle to see the entire set going back to May, 2011.

Can­di­date Nov Dec Jan 5 Jan 12 Jan 19 Jan 25 Feb 2 Feb 9 Feb 16
Rom­ney 1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
San­to­rum none
none
3 (tie)
4 (tie)
none
4
4
2
2
Gin­grich 2
2
2
2
2
2
2
3
3
Paul 4 (tie)
3
5
3
3
3
3
4
4
Bush, J none
none
none
none
none
none
none
none
5

 

1. For­mer Mass­a­chu­setts Gov­er­nor Mitt Rom­ney (RCP 28% –7; In 75% –7; ARG-​​AZ 38%; MRG-​​MI 33%)

Price of a “Mitt Rom­ney” con­tract on Intrade, Feb 8 to Feb 15.

Mitt Rom­ney was born in Michi­gan; his father, for­mer Amer­i­can Motors Pres­i­dent George Rom­ney, was Gov­er­nor of the state and a can­di­date for the 1968 Repub­li­can Pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion. Now San­to­rum is ten points ahead of him in Michi­gan, and has surged 21 points (from ten per­cent to 31 per­cent) in the lat­est Ari­zona polls. Could San­to­rum win either of these, or per­haps take the night as he did in last week’s three non-​​binding cau­cuses and pri­maries? He lost seven per­cent in the esti­ma­tion of Intrade bet­tors last week, and he dropped another seven per­cent this week. Even more trou­bling if you’re a Rom­ney sup­porter is his seven-​​percent drop in the RCP national polling aver­age, just in one week’s time.

In Romney’s case, then, there’s a con­flict between Intrade’s group­think and the cur­rent polling num­bers. No doubt, it’s because we’ve seen some­thing that looks remark­ably sim­i­lar. More than once. It seems as if every Repub­li­can in the nation has had a moment of polling higher than Rom­ney, and yet the Mitt from Mass soome­how ended up on top every time. Intrade traders must feel Not­Mitt is the Boy Who Cried Wolf.

2. For­mer Sen­a­tor Rick San­to­rum (R-​​PA) (RCP 34% +16; In 16% +6; ARG-​​AZ 31%; MRG-​​MI 43%)

San­to­rum on Intrade, Feb 8 to Feb 15.

San­to­rum is surg­ing. His advan­tage as the race’s pre­em­i­nent NotRom­ney is appar­ently car­ry­ing him for­ward, and he almost dou­bled his RCP polling aver­age in just the last week. He was clearly helped by his tri­fecta in Col­orado, Mis­souri and Min­nesota. Or, those state’s results reflected his surge — it’s not clear which way the causal arrow points.

Regard­less, he’s cer­tainly the Not­Mitt of Feb­ru­ary. Nobody has yet been able to hold the Not­Mitt Man­tle for more than a month. Could San­to­rum finally break the trend? We’re a mere two weeks away from an answer.

3. For­mer House Speaker Newt Gin­grich (RCP 15% –8; In 4% +1; ARG-​​AZ 15%; MRG-​​MI 11%)

Gin­grich on Intrade, Feb 8 to Feb 15.

Gin­grich con­tin­ues to strug­gle in real-​​world polling. He dropped by a third in RCP polling aver­ages, and he’s barely reg­is­ter­ing above Ron Paul in Ari­zona and Michi­gan polls. The only bright spots are a con­tin­u­ing lead in Geor­gia polls, and a slight uptick in his Intrade numbers…but when you’re at three per­cent, four per­cent is an improvement.

4. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ron Paul (R-​​Lake Jack­son, TX) (RCP 12% –3; In 3% 0; ARG-​​AZ 11%; MRG-​​MI 8%)

Paul on Intrade, Feb 8 to Feb 15.

One thing you can say for Ron Paul: he’s con­sis­tent. He has a con­sis­tent, unyield­ing Lib­er­tar­ian mes­sage, and he con­sis­tently gets about ten per­cent in real-​​world polling and runs about two to three per­cent on Intrade. He saw a spike on Sat­ur­day when it looked like he was going to “win” the Maine cau­cuses. Then he didn’t, and dropped back to his Old Faith­ful three per­cent on Intrade.

5.  For­mer Florida Gov­er­nor Jeb Bush (RCP no data; In 2% +2%; no poll data)

Jeb Bush on Intrade, Feb 8 to Feb 15.

This week’s big sur­prise is Jeb Bush. Who bet­ter to inau­gu­rate the Not­NotRom­ney throne than a poten­tial Third Bush? It appears that Intraders think there’s at least a two per­cent chance that the Repub­li­can con­ven­tion will be bro­kered. Palin was quoted at this week’s Con­ser­v­a­tive Polit­i­cal Action Com­mit­tee meet­ing as saying:

I don’t think that it would be a neg­a­tive for the party, a bro­kered con­ven­tion. That’s part of the com­pe­ti­tion, that’s part of the process. And it may happen.

Which goes to show how lit­tle she knows about mod­ern politics…or else she’s a very skilled liar. You decide.